BASAVARAJ NAIKAR

PROFESSOR EMERITUS

FORMER PROFESSOR  & CHAIRMAN

DEPARTMENT OF ENGLISH

KARNATAK UNIVERSITY

DHARWAD 580003 (INDIA)

BSNAIKAR@YAHOO.COM

 

That great men think alike is borne out by a comparative study of the religious thought and philosophy of Basaveswara, a twelfth century mystic and social reformer of Karnataka, India and Thoreau, a nineteenth century American Transcendentalist. Although there is a time gap of seven centuries and a spatial gap of about three thousand miles between them countries and background the ideas propounded by them are so similar that one feels that either of them must have copied from the other. But they did not know each other by any chance whatever. But they were placed in similar circumstances though not the same ones. Some of the similarities in their views may be studied at some length in the following paragraphs.

Inner Purity

The concept of inner purity is common to both Basaveswara and Thoreau. They insist upon the subjective improvement which automatically paves the way for objective or social betterment. Both of them attach an extraordinary importance to inner purity as they associate it with the principle of divinity in man. Inner purity should be simultaneous with the external purity. As Basaveswara says in one of his vacanas or mystic utterances:

You shall not steal,

Lie you shall not,

You shall not be angry

Or be jealous of others,

You shall not praise yourself

Or carp on others.

This is the inner purity

And this is the outer purity, too.

This is the only way

To please our Lord

Of Kudala-Sangama.